House approves bill addressing traffic gridlock

December 05, 2018

VOTING 188 against 8 with no abstentions, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act to address the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila and mega cities such as Metro Cebu and Davao City.

Under House Bill (HB) No. 6425 or the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, it tasks Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade as traffic chief to simplify the country’s management of traffic and transportation and regulate the road use in metropolitan areas.

It was President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte in 2016 who asked Congress to grant him emergency powers to address the traffic congestion in major cities.

However, the new version allows the President through the secretary of DoTR as traffic chief to enter into negotiated contracts for priority projects for the construction, repair, restoration, rehabilitation, improvement or maintenance of critical infrastructure projects, facilities and any directly related procurement of goods and service.

The secretary of the DoTR shall have the power of supervision and control over the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA); Cebu Coordinating Council, as created under the bill; Philippine National Police-Traffic Management Group; Land Transportation Office; Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board; Road Board; all other executive agencies, bureaus and offices with roles pertaining to land transportation regulation; and the Davao traffic administrator.

As the alter ego of the President, the traffic chief, shall have power of supervision over all local government units (LGUs) in these metropolitan areas.

The traffic chief shall formulate, coordinate, and monitor policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize existing public transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares, safe movement of persons and goods, the administration and implementation of all traffic enforcement operations, traffic engineering services, and traffic education programs.

But Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, the chairman of the House committee on transportation, said the proposal may not be able to pass this 17th Congress due to lack of material time.

Sarmiento said the Senate is now preoccupied with the deliberations of the 2019 proposed P3.757-trillion national budget and the campaign season has just started.